So I’ve been a bit sick for the last 2-3 weeks. I believe I’ve been infected with this virus that’s going around, at least many of the symptoms match (also, I started getting them shortly after travelling), though I haven’t been tested because Switzerland doesn’t have the capacity to test everyone. Anyway, I seem to be recovering now, but this has been an interesting lesson on the forces of nature. The forces of nature can destroy you (if you don’t respect them), but they can also protect you (if you do respect them).
When I first felt a sore throat, I was at work (at Google), but I immediately decided to go home. Near where I live, there’s a river. So, because I’ve learned shamanism and it’s supposed to be my thing now, I visited this river on my way home, and tried to make friends with the river spirit. I continued making friends with it the next day, and in return, it gave me its protection.
When I tried to ask my spirits about the situation, they confirmed that I was sick, and that I was meant to be (so that later, when I’m really needed, I’ll be immune). For that reason, they told me the disease had to run its course, but they could prevent complications. The friendly river spirit was even willing to relieve my symptoms almost entirely, so that I would not suffer, and would not need health care. I would only feel an intermittent mild fever to remind me I’m still sick.
The next couple of weeks proved interesting, because I soon learned that the river spirit could only do that if I maintained an open connection to it. I learned that if I so much as closed all the windows (thus cutting off nature spirits), I would soon get symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, etc). Once I opened the windows and re-established the connection, the symptoms quickly went away again. This was interesting. Perhaps a coincidence? I tried it a few times, and it seemed consistent. It was weird, but I decided to go with it. Open windows it is.
The worst was last week. In addition to having open windows, I knew I had to visit that river physically every few days. Last Thursday, I felt I should perhaps go, but decided “eh, I’ll do it tomorrow”. I shouldn’t have waited! That Friday, I got bad cases of fever, nausea, diarrhea (where I soiled several pairs of underwear), and more. And I couldn’t eat at all, pretty much all I could do was lie in bed, breathing heavily from the fatigue and stomach pain (my lungs were mysteriously fine, though, so it was never dangerous). After a long day, in the evening (when the streets were empty), I finally managed to drag myself off to that river again. And indeed, the next day, the symptoms quickly vanished. Within a few hours of waking up, I was almost back to normal. The mild fever was still there, as expected, but otherwise I was fine again.
So that was a week ago, and now the fever has also started going away. I think I’ve mostly recovered. (Maybe I can soon close those windows again?) It’s been a strange experience. In addition to now hopefully being immune, I’ve learned a few things.
The spirits have even let me know a few things about the virus outbreak itself. I can’t write everything here, but it’s clear that it did not happen because nature hates humans. It happened because humans are intruding on nature and destroying its balance. (See also, for example, this CNN Health story or this The Guardian story.)
And for those humans that pledge to not only enjoy nature, but to commune with it and defend it, the spirits of nature will also do whatever they can to protect them in return. It is really important to respect nature. Which is something shamans have always done.
The times ahead will be challenging, and the world may never be the same. This may be as good a time as any for everyone to make a choice about who you really want to be, and what values you really want to stand for, in the times to come.